A shoplifter produced a flick knife when he was challenged after stealing items from a Llandudno store.
Jonathan Kelly, aged 49, from Brockhurst Mews, Macclesfield, admitted affray and possessing the knife and was jailed for 14 months at Mold Crown Court.
Prosecuting barrister Simon Rogers told how on March 22 Kelly entered Maplins store at Mostyn Champneys Retail Park in Llandudno, and was seen to put a computer hard drive in his pocket.
When he was approached by staff he reached into his pocket and pulled out a flick knife with a four inch blade. Fearing for their safety the staff allowed him to leave.
He was arrested a short time later and the items he had stolen were discovered hidden under a hedge.
Judge Niclas Parry said it was a “step up” for the defendant who had countless prior convictions for theft.
“Two people doing their job, serving the public, are suddenly confronted by you brandishing a knife,” he said.
The use of knives and blades to commit crime was far too common, he continued. He may not have intended injury but out of control, in panic, the most catastrophic consequences could have followed.
“Knife crime can only be dealt with if it is understood that it always leads to custody.”
Kelly admitted theft, possessing the blade, an affray and possessing heroin for his own use.
No weapon was ever recovered. Kelly was said to be acting as a mentor for other prisoners while on remand which was building his own self-respect.